A blogger I occassionally read has a term for re-building the Arab World - Draining the Swamp. You can read some of his specific posts for his thoughts on this. I'm not going to comment on his thoughts since that's not my point; I'll leave to you to decide if you agree with him or not. Lately however, I just keep finding new reasons for why this is going to be a much much more difficult thing to accomplish (let's assume that it is indeed something we want to accomplish). The latest reason, of course, is the news of degrading torture at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. President Bush went on Arab TV yesterday condemning this stuff and essentially to try and placate a huge Arab audience and basically tell them, "Hey, we don't stand for this and don't you forget we're in it to win it and improve everybody's lives" Personally, I think Bush really believes in what he says. Whether what he believes is based on any point in reality is another story.
I don't think these abuses are the end-all-be-all, but it's yet another thing to point to and hang your head in shame that we can't do better. So outside of the human rights and the general "oh my god, you can't do that to our fellow humans!" thing, I think the main problem here is that the revelation of all these abuses just makes it sooo much more difficult to stand up on a pedestal and show that We Americans know what's best for for the world and We Americans have a plan to get You there. Bush seems to not want to get off that pedestal and really do anything serious about it. He keeps saying we're making progress, but that's about it. I know that's just his style of speaking, but c'mon...at some point, you've got to offer more than that.
It remains to be seen what actually comes of these prison abuses. We're told that many service-people at the prison are being reprimanded. I don't know what that entails, but I'm sure it's certainly not enough for the Arab audience who watched Bush's interview yesterday. We're being told that Sec. Rumsfeld is on the hot-seat for this as well. Personally, I don't care if the admin finds a fall-guy for this. Afterall, a fall-guy is just the person who's been chosen to take the heat so the rest of the folks can continue on their merry ways. Besides, I don't think Bush will bail on him. If he hasn't bailed on the poster-child for fall-guys, George Tenet, than he's not going to bail on his boy Rummie.
The only type of thing that's going to make difference is a demonstration of what's being done to improve the lives of people in Iraq. I'm really surprised that we don't get more of that news. The media love to show "human" stories when the Olympics come around, why not when it comes to Iraq? You'd think the Admin would be pushing CNN and the like to cover more of that stuff. While we do get some tidbits here and there, they seem more like isolated instances rather than parts of an improving picture. The cynic in me figures it's because there just isn't much good news to report. Who knows, I know I selectively read news and find news which supports my belief that the Admin will implode on itself.
Either way, I'm dismayed.
And with dismay, it's always good to find a good laugh. So here's Jon Stewart's take on this. Have fun.